As we build up to the classy Group 1 Sussex Stakes 2013, racing expert, David Myers, examines the runners and betting odds revealing his top tips along the way.
Dawn Approach @ EVS
There may not be a horse of Frankel’s presence in Wednesday’s Group 1 Sussex Stakes following back-to-back victories in the race during the last two years, but there is no shortage of quality, with the likes of Dawn Approach heading the market at 11/10.
Jim Bolger’s star colt made up for his defeat in the Epsom Derby by landing the Group 1 St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot last month (1m, good) – not that it was easy, as Dawn Approach had to pull out all the stops to hold off Richard Hannon’s, Toronado (6/4), by just a short head.
Toronado managed to get much closer to Dawn Approach on that occasion having run below par when fourth to him in the 2,000 Guineas, and judged on their Ascot form, there may not be much to choose between the pair at Goodwood – some punters may actually see Toronado as the value choice at 6/4.
However, one of the key elements as to who may come out on top when they clash for a third occasion is the nature of the track, as Goodwood doesn’t suit some horses, due to it’s sharp, undulating contours. The fact Dawn Approach ran his only poor race at a similar venue in the Epsom Derby may therefore put some off him winning here, though others may point out he simply failed to stay the 1m4f Derby trip.
One thing cannot be disputed, though, and that is the fine record of runners in the Sussex Stakes that came via the St James’s Palace Stakes, as six followed that route since 1997, making a grand total of 16 of the last 17 Sussex winners to have run at Royal Ascot beforehand.
Such a stat therefore brings Declaration Of War (4/1) into the equation, as Aidan O’Brien’s 4yo colt took the Queen Anne Stakes at Ascot last month, the very race Frankel used in prior to the Sussex in 2012. In fact, the Queen Anne has actually produced nine Sussex winners since 1997 – an even better record than the St James’s Palace Stakes.
Declaration Of War got home by just under 1l that day to hold on from Aljamaaheer, who has since booseted the form by landing a Group 2 back at Ascot (1m, good to firm).
Declaration Of War meanwhile, went on to run a very creditable second in the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown earlier this month (1m2f, good to firm) when hanging late on up the hill, suggesting this drop back in trip will suit better, though he’ll need to be at his very best to hold off the 3yo’s, whose age-group have won five of the last six Sussex Stakes.
As for the remainder, John Gosden’s, Gregorian (20/1), was just over 1l behind Declaration Of War in the Queen Anne and cannot be underestimated at 20/1, especially as he was thereabouts in similar Group 1′s last season.
While Declaration Of War is respected with Aidan O’Brien having won the Sussex Stakes four times, the vote goes to the 3yo, Dawn Approach, whose only career defeat in nine races came when failing to last home in the Derby.
But, with this renewal promising to be tight, here are some further Sussex pointers going back to 1997…
All 17 winners ran during the last two months.
All 17 made the top two last time.
16 were drawn away from the highest, outside stall
15 won over 1m.
15 made the top two of a Group 1 that season – those from the Lockinge in May are respected, while a career Group win was vital.
Aidan O’Brien had four winners, while Godolphin sent out three.